Man sues Harvard, says swim coach molested him
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WHDH) -- A man who says he was sexually molested by a swim coach at Harvard University decades ago has sued the school.
Stephen Embry, 55, says he was sexually abused approximately 100 times between ages 12 and 14 in the late 60s and early 70s.
Embry says his abuser is Ben Merritt, who was his neighbor and the Harvard swim coach.
“And the dreams of what happened come back in living color like it happened yesterday. And it’s on a tape that plays over and over and over and over,” said Embry.
Embry says the abuse took place on the Harvard campus in a swimming pool area after he says Merritt convinced his parents to coach him to be an Olympic swimmer.
Embry says he repressed the memories until 2008. That’s when he says he wrote a letter to Harvard telling them about the abuse. In 2010, Embry says the university’s attorney wrote back saying she was “…unable to find anyone who would support your suggestion that Harvard is legally responsible,” and that, “The time…has long passed for bringing a legal claim.”
Soon after that, Embry learned through police reports that Merritt committed suicide in 1996 in connection with a sex abuse law suit by another alleged victim against Merritt and Harvard.
“It’s seems to me that they were playing me to run out the statute of limitations from the time the suppressed memories came back,” Embry said.
Embry and his lawyer, Carmen Durso, say in the suit filed Wednesday that Harvard and failed to disclose a previous claim brought in 1996 against the university and the swimming coach.
According to Newton school officials, after he left Harvard, Merritt taught and coached at Newton North High School from 1972 until he retired in 1983. Newton officials say there are no complaints of abuse in Merritt’s file.